Last Sunday saw the closure of the News Of The World. After 168 years the newspaper finally shut it’s doors for good after becoming caught up in a scandal which has rocked journalism to it’s very core and created a band of boring twittering arrogant celebrities who have been jostling by all forms of social media for the moral high ground.
Six years ago the News Of The World employed a number of journalists who were complicit in hacking peoples voicemail pins and listening to their messages. In some cases they were also hacking emails. The moral tidal wave which eventually destroyed the News Of The World was due to the fact that they had hacked the mobile phone of a young girl who had been murdered. Undoubtably morally reprehensible behaviour, to even those who have somewhat flexible morals.
Every second another celebrity crawled out of the woodwork to share their disgust over the NOTW scandal. Each comment more useless than the last. The end result being that the media steamroller crushed the remnants of the NOTW. The witchhunt crushed around 200 jobs. The number of arrests stand at less than 10 percent of those employed at the newspaper. Not a single member of those employed at the NOTW at the time of its closing has been arrested. Each of the arrests pertain to ex-staff members who worked at the NOTW six years ago as do each of the allegations.
To be a successful newspaper you must respond and adapt to the wants of your readers. As long as I can remember the Sunday newspapers were filled with investigative stories. And pictures of famous women on holiday minus their bikini tops. There is a reason that a newspaper lasts 168 years and that is that it responded and adapted to the demands of the time. To some degree the media of our nation represents the people of our nation, otherwise it would never have been so popular. Why so many people are in denial about this I don’t know?
We live in a time when our government uses the very same practices as the NOTW. The key difference being that they justify such actions as vital to National Security. Every day phones are being tapped and hacked. Emails too. Private conversations are being recorded. To feign outrage, and deem such actions as immoral whilst staying silent about around 97% of the governments of the world doing the exact same thing is ridiculous.
In the coming weeks the Sun will move to a 7 day week and attempt to fill the void left by the departure of the NOTW. The Government will demand inquiries very quietly from the corners of their mouth. People will forget. The PR machine will win. And life will continue in the same pattern as once was. This is inarguable, like gravity and bread always landing butter side down when you drop it. What kind of victory will it be then?
The celebrity campaign has cost 200 people their livelihoods. So far not a single one of those people have been proven to be guilty of a single crime. Yet many still laud it as a worthy achievement. A 168 year old newspaper has been crushed into non existence. In the coming weeks another will emerge to take it’s place. Targeting the exact same demographic, selling the very same stories of tits and sleaze. Yet many still champion themselves as slayers of the dragon. Newspapers may well be subject to tighter restrictions and less freedoms, whilst the governments which sit in judgment continues to hack and tap the phones of their citizens. What kind of victory is that? A rather hollow one.